League of Misogyny, by Riot Games

by Chinchilla on April 25, 2017 - 2:00pm

Online videogames are becoming more and more popular, it is estimated that about 500 million people worldwide play videogames for at least one hour each day. (Blake, M.) With this increasing popularity, videogames are becoming a regular part of people’s lives. Since this is the case, the fact that videogames are affecting people is undoubtedly true. The issue at hand is that some videogames are having negative consequences on individuals. The most popular videogame in the world is called League of Legends. According to Riot Games, which is the creator of League of Legends, there are approximately 67 million active players every month. (Segal, D. 2014) These numbers are alarmingly high since League of Legends is a misogynistic game. The videogame objectifies women characters as sexual objects for the male gazing pleasures by presenting them in a physic, which is near impossible to obtain. Also, the objectification of women in videogames is a moral dilemma that can be analyzed using an ethical framework called utilitarianism.

The sexual objectification of women in League of Legends is an issue that must be handled immediately since it is causing harm to society. Due to the ultra thin body type and extensive cleavage displayed by female characters in games, people are rating female characters in videogames as being helpless and sexually provocative. (Ogletree, S.M., & Drake, R. 2007) This is a serious issue as it is teaching both men and women that a woman should be dressed provocatively. It is also promoting the idea that women need help and cannot get things done on their own.
There are 44 humanoid female characters in League of Legends and a disturbing 77% or 34 of them are portrayed as being physically slim-waisted and big breasted. (Riot Games, 2009) This is encouraging the Barbie figure, which is unrealistic and harmful to young women. Learning that women cannot achieve the ultra-thin waist portrayed in League of Legends can disrupt their mental state. The personalities of the characters and clothing preferences vary tremendously, yet they are all presented in the same subjective sexy woman image. Also, within League of Legends there is a way of changing the appearance of the characters through a variety of skins. An alarming 50% of all female skins available show cleavage and just under 30% of skins show stomach. (Beck, S. 2014) Thus, adding to the sexualisation of females in the videogame. In addition, some skins showcase female characters in professional clothing such as a teacher or newscaster. Sexualizing females with those clothes reduce females to objects with the sole purpose is to please others. Also, this promotes that women in these positions should not be taken seriously as they are simply dressing-up sexy and are not actually competent professionals in their workplace. (Beck, S. 2014)
Furthermore, the objectification of women in videogames effect women’s mental state in a negative way. The increase pressure that women feel to be ultra-thin can be directly connected to the fact that there is an increase in eating disorder. The reason that this is a critically important problem is that most of the female figures portrayed by characters in League of Legends are often unachievable. (Because its 2016)

The best ethical framework to use in order to solve this moral dilemma is utilitarianism since it promotes the greatest good for the greatest people. Utilitarianism can be used a guideline to resolve this problem as it will make sure that actions being taken are for the greatest good. As the world is promoting more and more equality between men and women, the gender discrimination is reducing and people are becoming equal. Therefore, it makes sense to adapt videogames in a way that everyone benefits. To reach this goal, the obvious answer is to stop the female objectification in society. In the case of sexual objectification of women in videogames, League of Legends needs to change the appearances of female characters as it is having more negative effects than good ones.

To conclude, the sexual objectification of women in videogames is harmful and must be dealt with immediately. It is causing direct harm to women’s mental state and the perception of women. Using the utilitarianism ethical framework as a guideline to resolve this issue is the best solution as it promotes the greatest good for the greatest people. League of Legends is not the only game to do this, but I strongly believe that they should set an example to other games since their fan base is 8 times larger then their next competitor. (Segal, D. 2014)

References

"Because its 2016": Documenting the Persistence of and Challenge to Gender Stereotyping in the Marketplace. (2016). Advances in Consumer Research, 44236-240.

Beck, S. (2014) A Survey of League of Legends Champions from a Gendered Perspective – WinGS. Women in Game Studies. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from http://womeningamestudies.com/a-survey-of-league-of-legends-champions-from- a-gendered-perspective/

Blake, M. (n.d.). How Many People Play Video Games? Retrieved April 25, 2017, from http://online.lovetoknow.com/how-many-people-play-video-games

Ogletree, S.M., & Drake, R. (2007). College Students’ Video Game Participation and Perceptions: Gender Differences and Implications. Sex Roles. 56(7-8), 537-542. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9193-5

Riot Games 2009. League of Legends. video game. Riot Games

Segal, D. (2014, October 10). Behind League of Legends, E-Sports's Main Attraction. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/technology/riot-games-league-of-legends- main-attraction-esports.html?_r=0